The Grand Ole Opry is the most sacred of all Nashville venues. It’s changed locations several times since the 1920s, but the six-foot circular oak stage at its current location (just east of Nashville, where it’s resided since the 1970s) is cut from the Opry’s most famous incarnation at The Ryman Auditorium. This is the same piece of oak on which Patsy Cline, the Carter Family and Johnny Cash once stood.
Contemporary country star Brad Paisley has marveled, “That circle is the most magical thing when you’re a performer, to stand there and get to sing on those same boards that probably still contain dust from Hank Williams’ boots.” Over the years, the Grand Ole Opry has reflected the changing face of country music and all its many subgenres—and it’s gamely rolled with the punches as country music’s popularity has fluctuated.
Unfortunately, the venue took its biggest beating yet during the Nashville Flood of 2010. Water seeped slowly but profoundly into the Opry, covering the venue, its hallowed stage and many priceless artifacts with 46 inches of water. Today, thanks to the help of the local community, the Opry’s restoration is complete.